Geek Mom Fitness: Just Dance Your Butt Off

Image: Ubisoft

When I was at the BlogHer conference earlier this year, I met a woman in the Ubisoft booth who claimed to have lost a ton of weight just by playing Just Dance on Wii. I hopped up on stage to give Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” a try on the new Just Dance 2, broke a sweat, and wished I had given myself more time to digest my lunch. When my review copy of Just Dance 2 arrived, I danced for an hour and subsequently couldn’t lift my arms for three days.

Just Dance 2 is ridiculously fun if you’re at all dancing-inclined, with a wide selection of music to appeal to different ages. For those of my generation, Beastie Boys, Blondie, The Bangles, and Snap make an appearance. Going back further, you can enjoy some disco tracks, James Brown, Elvis, and The Rolling Stones (well, a Fatboy Slim remix anyway). Young’uns might enjoy Rihanna, Vampire Weekend, and The Ting Tings. Dancing along to some songs from this century gave me new appreciation for them. For instance, I learned that Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” is a great dance song, and not just the party mix aboard the USS Enterprise.

Despite my expectations, Just Dance 2 isn’t chocked full of sexy avatars. Sure, there’s a sexy nurse and some other hotties, but they’re stylized and colorful and none of the dance moves are too suggestive (though, I suppose, that depends on how you’re doing it at home). There’s actually a really nice range of women and men in a wide array of fashion choices. There’s even Frankenstein and a robot dance that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped inside Tron.

To play the game, all you have to do is hold the controller in your right hand and mirror what the avatar does on screen and keep an eye on the icons of moves coming up. It takes a little while to get the moves down, but they repeat within a song so it’s possible to do a pretty good run your first time through a song. Unlike those stressful and annoying clunks for mistakes in Guitar Hero, you can just keep doing your thing and the game doesn’t fault you until scoring time. This makes it great for younger and uncoordinated users. You can also be a total cheater, like a certain husband I could name, and just follow the movements with your right arm, but then instead of a nice full-body workout you’ll just end up with crazy Just Dance tennis arm.

Now, Ubisoft doesn’t make any fitness or weight loss claims for this title, but they do offer a “Just Sweat Mode” where you can watch the calories burn. I tell you this: it’ll definitely make you sweat, but you’ll have fun doing it.

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